Before, during, and after childbirth, various types of assistance are required by the mother, child, and other family members. Both physical and emotional assistances are important during the childbirth process and that is why people need doula and midwives. They both have different responsibilities during the pregnancy period.
Doula vs Midwife
The main difference between a doula and a midwife is that a doula provides various techniques of emotional and physical comfort during childbirth and other stages of pregnancy whereas a midwife is a trained professional who is qualified to deliver a baby and perform several gynecological examinations.
A doula is a person who provides various kinds of physical relaxing techniques, massage, and emotional support to the parents during pregnancy and childbirth. They are not clinically trained to deliver babies but they support the mother by teaching them various relaxation and breathing techniques.
A midwife is a trained healthcare professional who helps out a woman to deliver a healthy baby. They are clinically trained to give birth both at hospitals and at home. Doctors don’t recommend giving birth to twins only under the supervision of a midwife because it is complicated.
Comparison Table Between Doula and Midwife
|Parameters of Comparison||Doula||Midwife|
|Job Description||The main jobs of a doula include providing breathing technique support, various relaxing methods, massage, and provide comfort emotionally.||The main jobs of a midwife include performing gynecological examinations, prescribing medications, fetal monitoring, providing contraception counseling, etc.|
|Delivering Babies||A doula is not trained to deliver babies.||A midwife is clinically trained to deliver babies.|
|Medical training||Doulas do not go through medical training and hence cannot be used as a substitute for midwives.||Midwives have medical training to deliver a healthy baby during the childbirth process.|
|Certification||A doula doesn’t need a formal license but organizations offer doula training programs but are optional.||The American Midwifery Certification Board certifies midwives in the US.|
|Significance||Doulas mainly support the birthing parents before, during, and after childbirth. Their main concern is to help the mother relax and deliver without stress through various emotional and physical techniques.||Midwives make sure that both a mother and the baby receive continuous care from trained professionals especially during childbirth.|
|Advantages||Doulas help in providing proper massage and physical relaxing techniques and support the mother and other family members emotionally.||A midwife reduces the risk of preterm birth, induced labor, third and fourth-degree perineal tears, and infant mortality rates.|
What is Doula?
Doulas are people who provide various physical and emotional support to a pregnant woman during the time of pregnancy and childbirth. They are not medically trained professionals hence are not allowed to perform any surgeries or deliver babies. There are many organizations now that provide training programs and they don’t require a formal license.
The doulas provide continuous care during labor. There are two types of doulas, antepartum doulas, and postpartum doulas. The former one supports the mother before the child is born and helps in reducing the risk of preterm labor whereas the latter assists the mother after the baby is born.
Generally, a doula is hired during the second or third trimester. They teach the mother various relaxation and breathing techniques, provide massage, and help change positions during labor. A doula can also attend childbirth classes as a substitute for the father.
What is a Midwife?
A midwife is a trained professional and requires a formal license to practice as one. They are trained to conduct several gynecological examinations, prescribe medications, and deliver babies. They can either deliver at home or in the hospital. In case of complications, it is advised that they deliver in a hospital under the supervision of a gynecologist.
Midwives receive various levels of training. For example, the certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) receive different education as compared to certified midwives (CMs). The lay midwives do not have certification and only receive informal training. There are also certified professional midwives (CPMs) but they are not permitted to practice in all the states.
The midwives are responsible for delivering babies as well as referring to a doctor when needed. They also conduct various prenatal exams and give proper education regarding childbirth and pregnancy. A midwife also closely watches your psychological health.
Main Differences Between Doula and Midwife
- The main jobs of a doula include providing breathing technique support, various relaxing methods, massage, and provide comfort emotionally. On the other hand, a midwife can perform several gynecological examinations and prescribe medications to the mother.
- A doula is not trained to deliver babies whereas a midwife is clinically trained to deliver babies.
- Doulas do not go through medical training and hence cannot be used as a substitute for midwives whereas midwives have medical training to deliver a healthy baby during the childbirth process.
- A doula doesn’t need a formal license whereas the American Midwifery Certification Board certifies midwives in the US.
- The main concern of a doula is to help the mother relax and deliver without stress through various emotional and physical techniques whereas midwives make sure that both a mother and the baby receive continuous care from trained professionals especially during childbirth.
- The advantage of hiring a doula is that they help in providing proper massage and physical relaxing techniques and support the mother and other family members emotionally. On the other hand, a midwife reduces the risk of preterm birth, induced labor, third and fourth-degree perineal tears, and infant mortality rates.
Though doula and midwives have different responsibilities, their main goal is to provide proper care during the pregnancy. While one is responsible for providing emotional and physical support, the other one is trained in a more technical aspect to perform heavier duties like delivering a baby.
It completely depends on the family if they want to hire a doula or a midwife or both. Though a midwife is trained clinically to deliver a baby, in case of any complications OB-GYN physicians should be consulted. Midwives are not allowed to perform C-sections or use forceps and vacuums during childbirth.
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